We get up at around four in the morning. Shower, brush our teeth. Pack everything back in our packs, making sure we leave nothing we may need. Luckily there’s an Uber driver near us at four in the morning. The driver’s name is Mark. The driver gets there pretty early, earlier than usual drivers. You would expect this driver to be sluggish or at least with the slightest bit of sleep in his eyes but instead he’s as awake as a bird. As soon as he parks his car, he steps out of the car with a big excited “good morning!” and a goofy smile. In hindsight, I greatly appreciate his enthusiasm but at the time I was a little annoyed. He was surprised by our heavy packs. We put one in the trunk and the other in the back seat. I quickly took the back seat to try to get some shut eye and Balt took shotgun. He asked about our packs and about Campo. He was excited for our trip. Said he was a boy scout. He was quite the chatterbox but that’s the perfect person for Balt. Balt likes talking a lot too. So I sat in the back trying to get some more sleep but instead found myself awake staying up to date with their conversation, especially with Balt’s “honey, where was that place…” or other occasional questions about our previous hikes or trips.
The moon is full and still present in the five a.m. pastel sky. I’m nervous the whole way there. Mostly about using my trowel and having to pop a squat every time I need to pee.
We’re about 20 or 25 miles away when Mark, the Uber driver, says that he needs to find a gas station. Soon. He owns an economical car, as most Uber drivers do, but he hadn’t filled up despite noticing the low fuel. By then, however, we were out in the middle of nowhere. There were no more rest areas, gas stations. Just desert and mountains outlining the horizon. He sounded a little worried and panicked in his characteristically cheerful voice. It kind of made me panic. He decided to keep going and perhaps we would come across some type of gas station instead of turning around and driving about 15 or 20 miles back west to where it was actually populated. Those were really our only two options. It was relief when we saw an exit leading to a small
So we wake up in San Diego. We mosey on to get breakfast through Little Italy. We thought using the trolley to get everywhere was more fitting in our little world of adventure rather than Ubering around. We walk around downtown SD for a while. When we get back to the hotel, we sit down and recheck our packs. Rearranging stuff again and again. Reassuring that we have all that we may need and becoming more familiar with our own packs as well as each other’s just in case of some accident. That evening while eating Italian food at a restaurant only a few blocks away from the hotel, we plan how we would get to Campo, about 50 miles east of San Diego. If we decided to take the trolley and bus, the cheaper option, we would get to Campo around 10 a.m., which is already too hot in the day. If we Uber’d to Campo, we could possibly get there at around 6 a.m. which would be preferable so that we can start walking then.
We chose Ubering because of the heat we would avoid.
I’m excited and nervous right now! I hope I’m able to sleep tonight.
Balt and I arrived at Paso Robles Amtrak station with only our packs and our hiking gear and shoes around 10am. Our bus was scheduled to depart at 10:40am but didn’t arrive until 11:00 which made us a little skeptical while we waited. We were asked where we were headed to or what we were up to several times by other passengers. I’m sure the combination of our tall packs and hiking shoes seemed a little out of the ordinary for them.
The bus arrived, we threw our packs under the bus, and we were off.
Our adventure began.
Despite the bus’s late arrival, we made it to our train right on time. At 2:04 pm. We hadn’t booked a hotel yet, so we found a cheap hotel near Little Italy in San Diego called Harbor Inn.
We reached downtown San Diego at about 7:30 pm and walked to our hotel which wasn’t too far from the train station.
Last night we spread out all the gear we thought we would need. Balt began packing his Osprey backpack first as I checked off the list we had made together. It was actually a lot of stuff.
Tent. Sleeping bag. Blanket. Sleeping pad. Compression bag for clothes. Camp towel. Two 1-liter Nalgene bottles. Water filteration system (we used the Guardian Purifier). Hand sanitizer. Solar powered charger. Trekking poles. Bear canister for a week supply of food. Bear bell. Pocket PCT book and the PCT data book. Nail clipper. A trowel. Wipes. Small stove. Matches. And the list went on… for 60 pounds on his pack and about 35 pounds on mine by the time I finished packing up.
Right now I’m at 113 lbs. So that’s about one fourth to one third of my body weight. Same for him and his pack. We’re nervous about the weight of our packs but we figure if we really don’t need something then we can mail it back once we reach a general delivery place. We’re also excited about getting started though!
Our plan to get to the trailhead northbound is to leave to San Diego tomorrow morning by catching a bus out of Paso Robles and then jumping on a train at Santa Barbara. We plan to stay two nights in San Diego, then get a ride to Campo, the Southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
So I will be hiking the PCT, Pacific Crest Trail, with my fiance this summer. Or should I say in 4 days! The PCT is a 2,660-mile trail extending from the Mexican border to the Canadian border crossing California, Oregon, and Washington. It usually would take a thru hiker about 5 to 6 months to hike the entire trail in one hike (hence the word thru hiker). However we only have about a month and a half to spare. So we will be hiking a section of it. We will begin at the Mexican border and walk north bound. We hope to at least walk 500-700 miles within the time frame of a month and a half. Usually a hiker would start the PCT around March, early spring, in order to avoid the high temperatures in the desert but we really had no other choice since I am a college student.
We have our backpacks set and just need a few other things to buy. We will be sorting through our backpacks, weighing them, and making a list of what other things we will need tonight. On Monday, we will catch a train to San Diego. We will stay there for a couple nights. Then on Wednesday early morning we will catch a ride to Campo, a tiny town next to the Mexican border and the beginning of the PCT.